Tag Archives: consumer protection

Your iPhone is Tracking You

Your iPhone is Tracking You By Howard LipsetAnd it is doing it in ways you never imagined.

Yes, we want to be able to use our GPS functions and get directions, but are you aware that some of your apps are tracking you as well?

Apps like Evernote and Dictation are logged into your GPS. Why do you need that? Every bank app I have is logged into my GPS. I don’t need to know where the nearest ATM is. I can search by zip code if I have to.

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IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams

IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams By Howard LipsetIt’s true: tax scams proliferate during the income tax filing season. This year’s season opened on January 31. The IRS provides the following scam warnings so you can protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of these crimes:

  • Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.   Continue reading

A Current Scam

A Current Scam By Howard LipsetIn Long Island, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) is taking over the management of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for the next 10 years.

So, when I recently saw an email that looked like it was pertinent to the takeover I decided to read it. Then I noticed that it was coming from PGE and they were telling me what my bill was and asking me to check a link. That looked wrong and I decided to delete the email.

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A New Kind of Internet Scam

A New Kind of Internet Scam by Howard LipsetIf you are reading this blog, then you may have seen the problem.

In response to a prior blog, someone posted a like. Raved about what I had written. Called me by first name as if we were partners. Gave a telephone number and offered assistance in areas that I could not. But, then specifically told everyone to use me for advice.

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PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFO.

Howard LIpset of www.thecfo.wordpress.com provides some advice on how to protect your personal information.1.  Shred, Shred and Shred some more. And do not be cheap about the shredder. Make sure it cuts in two directions.

2.  Remove your name from mailing lists for preapproved credit cards or other financial offers. This mail could be stolen, your address changed and credit applied for in your name. Some banks have even approved credit on torn applications that were taped back together. (shred, shred, shred). Continue reading

PRIVACY AND THE IRS

Howard Lipset of www.thecfo.wordpress.com discusses privacy in the modern digital age and how the IRS is trying to read our emails.Americans have come to believe that their expectations of privacy are a constitutional right.

Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service does not believe that.

And in some cases, the IRS is correct. When you post something on Facebook, Twitter or the like, you are allowing anyone who wants to look to see that posting. In these instances, you do not have an expectation of privacy because you have, de facto, waived it.

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Verizon Wireless’ Worthless Class Action

Howard Lipset of www.thecfo.wordpress.com describes a class action settlement with Verizon Wireless and how the settlement is worthless to the consumers but most likely profitable to the lawyers and other corporate heads.At the end of March 2013, my wife received a letter from VERIZON WIRELESS AMERICA’S CHOICE II LITIGATION announcing that they had won a class action.

And what did she win? A very “valuable” 40 units of long distance calling.

With Voice over Internet, Vonage, and my cell phone service, I have no phones on which I would pay for long distance calls in the USA. So what did they give us? Ice in the Winter.

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TO SERVE & PROTECT – Part 2

Howard Lipset of www.thecfo.wordpress.com provides another example of how he protected a client from losing money from a bogus bank charge.I’m continuing with historical situations that have occurred in which we discovered that our clients were going to be taken advantage of.

This is a very strange story and those of our readers who have a mortgage and escrow their real estate taxes should be aware of what can go wrong.

One day, our client receives a letter from the people who are servicing his mortgage. The letter tells him that there is a shortage in the escrow account and that he needs to make it up immediately ($6,000) and that the next 12 months of escrow will increase by $500 per month. At this point, what would you have done? Would you have paid it?

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Another Medicare Hidden Trap

Howard Lipset of www.thecfo.wordpress.com discusses how the way hospitals are coding patients is affecting Medicare coverage.This is a summary of a major article published in this month’s AARP Bulletin.

The article discusses a woman who fractured her spine, spent 5 days in the hospital, wearing an ID bracelet, eating hospital food and receiving nursing care but when she was transferred to a rehab facility she learned that Medicare was not going to cover her rehab because the hospital had never formally admitted her,  but had classified her as an outpatient under observation.

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What Small Businesses and Individuals Should Know About The New Credit Card Reform

February 22, 2010 marked the day when Congress allowed credit card reform to take affect.  Why they waited so long when they passed the bill over nine months earlier is a mystery to me.  What is also a mystery to me is why they could not see the abuses in the credit card industry before then.

Howard Lipset - What Small Businesses and Individuals Should Know About The New Credit Card ReformYes, changing the interest rate without notice is an abuse.  So is being able to change the rate on balances already in existence.  And charging you for going over the limit when they know and you don’t is totally unfair.  And interest rates of 29% are worse than the Mafia.  But all of that is small potatoes.

Think about this.  Why did they love that $39 late charge?  If you had a minimum payment of $10 and you were one day late, they could hit you with a $39 late charge.  That is an effective rate of 1,423%.

The new laws have made all of this tougher for the credit card companies.  You should expect them to raise their annual fees and raise their balance transfer fees as well.  If you are carrying a small business card from American Express or Visa or a personal card from any credit card company, you should expect to see the credit card companies act more like the airlines.  That is, fees go up and charges for “extras” such as a meal or a blanket, that were previously free.

We have been successful in the past negotiating these fees for clients; small businesses and individuals should be able to do the same if you start to find the fees outrageous.

Let me know if you need my help.